Brad Demo has been Executive Director of the Midwest Section PGA based in Blue Springs, MO since 2005. Before that, he spent 20+ enjoyable years at one of the best courses in the midwest—Alvamar CC in Lawrence, KS. Born and raised in Emporia, KS, Brad and his Board of Directors oversee one of the largest geographical areas of a PGA Section. Theirs encompasses the western half of Missouri, including Springfield, St. Joe, Branson, and Joplin, and most of Kansas.
We caught up with Brad back in late February at the Kansas City Golf Show. He told us about their trademarked emblem, Footprints in Fairways, and, more importantly, why the concept of “more footprints in fairways” is one of their guiding principles. “Everyone close to the game knows we have to do a better job of attracting more people to it,” he said. “We had it easy when times were good, but now they’re not as good and we need to work hard and work TOGETHER to attract the youth, the women, everyone we can to the game. Our logo, ‘Footprints in Fairways,’ is not just a snappy saying. We need more footprints, and we need to work together with other associations to achieve that goal. So that means regular communication with groups like the Gateway PGA Section to the east, the Missouri Golf Association, the Kansas Golf Association, the Kansas City Golf Association, etc. We need to throw away the “boxes” we’ve been in and look to do whatever, with whomever, to grow the game.”
A main part of Brad’s overall goal of growing the game is the “SNAG-in-schools” program headed up by another accomplished PGA Professional, Jeff Burey. (Profiled in our March issue.) Brad and Jeff will tell you, with well-deserved pride, that their “SNAG-in-schools” now enrolls over 110,000 students in Missouri and Kansas—by far the most kids in the entire country.
“We first started several years ago in Springfield with the help of a great youth instructor and advocate, Rick Grayson. We then moved closer to home with our pilot program in the Olathe,KS school district.”
They are now going anywhere within their boundaries to start a “SNAG” program. Brad explained that it really involves an interest and commitment on several levels. “We need the Superintendent of whatever school district to buy in—but why wouldn’t they? It’s free, it gives additional options within their PE Dept., and it’s good for kids. We also need the buy-in of the PE instructors because we need about four hours to train them. And then we also need the support of the community at large and the leaders within that community.”
“We recently went out to Liberal, KS to talk with them about the program. Do you know where that is? It’s darned near in New Mexico. But they expressed an interest—and that’s really all we need to send Jeff out there to spread the word and hopefully get a program started.”